Monday, April 14, 2014

Green Spot Irish Whiskey

I have to love my friends and fellow bartenders. They know me so well. How so? Well, they know enough of me that if I walk into their place of work and there is a new spirit or something that they think that I haven't tried yet, they'll recommend it me. For example, the other night I walked down to Puck Fair (298 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012, 212-431-1200) to get some dinner (I got the Fish and Chips. I highly recommend it) and Spencer shows me a bottle of Irish Whisky that had the name of Green Spot Irish Whiskey. I'd never heard of it and decided to have a taste of it. Before I go into what I thought of it, I want to touch on the Green Spot itself.

According to Larry Olmstead in his article Two Deluxe Irish Whiskies Arrive In US from dated February 13, 2014, Green Spot Irish Whiskey was not available here in The United States until recently. The article states March 1st to be exact. This type of Whiskey differs from what is known as blended whiskeys. Where blended Whiskys are just how the name implies: made up of a blend of different whiskeys, Green Spot is known as a Single Pot Distilled Whiskey. According to the listing for Pot Still Irish Whiskey on the Single Pot Still website:
POT STILL IRISH WHISKEY is a style of whiskey which is unique to Ireland in general and to the Midleton Distillery, Co. Cork, in particular. It is regarded as the quintessential style of Irish whiskey.

Made from a mash of malted and unmalted barley, which is then triple distilled in traditional copper pot stills, Pot Still Irish Whiskeys are characterised by full, complex flavours and a wonderful, creamy mouthfeel. The inclusion of unmalted barley to the mashbill, along with the tradition of triple distillation, defines the character of Pot Still and this uniquely Irish approach to whiskey distillation.

Single Pot Still Whiskeys (whiskeys originating from a single distillery) were once the norm in Ireland and from the late 18th century to the early 20th century, Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey was the most sought after whiskey style in the world.

Indeed, by the turn of the 20th century, more Pot Still whiskey was exported from Ireland than any other whiskey style from any other country. However, a number of unfortunate coincidences led to the demise of full flavoured Pot Still Irish Whiskeys and to the rise of the lighter, more accessible, blended whiskeys which combined lighter grain whiskeys with the fuller flavoured Pot Still whiskeys or Malt whiskeys.

While Pot Still Irish Whiskey continues to be used as a key component in many well known brands of blended Irish whiskey, by the turn of the millennium only two Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey brands had survived – Redbreast & Green Spot. However, in recent years this style of whiskey has enjoyed a renewed groundswell of interest from whiskey writers and enthusiasts alike, giving rise to demand for new expressions and now, to the ‘Single Pot Still Irish Whiskeys of Midleton’ range.
In terms of Green Spot in particular:
Green Spot is a non age statement Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey and is comprised of Pot Still Whiskeys aged between 7 and 10 years. The whiskey has matured in a combination of new bourbon and refill bourbon casks as well as Sherry casks.

Only small quantities of Green Spot are bottled each year. No real reason why. Drink some more and we'll bottle some more.

Nose: Fresh aromatic oils and spices with orchard fruits and barley on a background of toasted wood

Taste: Full spicy body. A hint of cloves along with the fruity sweetness of green apples, rounded off with toasted oak.

Finish: Lingering flavours of licorice and barley.
Olmstead states that in Ireland there are three versions of the Green Spot, including a 10 and 12 year old, as well as sibling Yellow Spot and is produced in very limited quantities about only 12,000 bottles each year.

Now, I really can't say that I could taste cloves, green apples or licorice. But I do have to say that this is arguably the smoothest Irish Whisky that I have ever tasted. I found that the Green Spot didn't have that burn or kick that most other Irish Whiskeys that I have tasted has. It was smooth on the lips, tongue and throat upon the initial sip with a subtle sweetness. Even after knocking back the rest of the shot, the whiskey went down nice and easy. I highly recommend it if you see it at your local bar or local liquor store.

For my next post, another friend and fellow bartender Julia brought me a taste of a new vodka that she came across at a tasting: Fair Quinoa Vodka.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla